Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The First Snow

This was the first major snow dump of the year. Normally I'm pretty much jumping for joy and trying to figure out where I am going to ski the next day. But this year, alas, I have given up skiing for the healing sake of the ole hip. plus, telemark skiing is pretty much the worst thing i can think of trying to do with a weak and inflammed hip joint. as for a hip update, i am doing alright. started a strength training program to get my hip muscles back on track. they are still incredibly weak. and i have a funky problem going on in my groin still, i can't do a straight leg lift b/c of the intense pain there. i see my surgeon on dec 2 and we'll what he thinks. we are unable to do any imaging of the hip and surrounding tissue b/c of the screws in place (they cause artifact in the images). so it's really just a guess. we thought for a long time it was hip flexor tendonitis. and maybe it still is. but i've rested it for months now with minimal improvement so i don't know if i believe it is tendonitis anymore. anyway, the point is, it hurts. a lot. and still hinders my movement. my range of motion is improving, very slowly. i'm hoping to see some great improvements in my strength with the weight training. i am only doing weights twice a week. trying to hike one day a week, and swim one day a week. that's my goal for the winter anyway. i just got a nasty cold which hindered any movement whatsoever this week though. i am 6 months out from my surgery, i thought i'd be farther along. but shoot, i thought i'd be climbing by now too. and possibly skiing. so no skiing this year, but the hike on this day, up Little Cottonwood Canyon, was lovely and adventurous. I even jogged down hill on the way back. it wasn't pain-free, but it wasn't too bad either. i'm hopeful. jury is still out on whether i think this surgery helped me, or hindered me. sad thing is, i can feel my other hip impinging daily. but i'm not thinking about that right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Well, It's October and that almost always means Indian Creek rock climbing. Not to be put off by cranky hips and night shift schedules, I made the trek down last weekend. We met our good friends BJ and Lacy there along with Heidi and Max and spent the weekend soaking in the red sandstone, sunshine, fresh air, and yellow-leaved cottonwoods. It was beautiful! I swear, i only climbed with one leg. I even left my hiking shoe on my affected hip side so i wouldn't be tempted to use it climbing. my surgeon has said that rock climbing is 9-12 months out from the surgery date, as it is one of the most intensive things i could put my hip through. but i've got to say, just putting my hands into a crack and touching the rock down there this weekend was so good for me. i had a good cry too while i was down there, but mostly i was just very happy to be there. eric and i also brought the road bikes but i got a flat just 5 miles into the ride and we had already used our spare tires. so we just drove into canyon land national park and had lunch, dorked around moab for a bit, and came home. the hip wasn't even a bit angry after climbing (i was very good to it though and didn't use it a bit). i'm hopeful this week about my range of motion. slowly ever so slowly i am improving. I'm about 5 months out this week- seems like a long time and yet, not enough time to be healed.

ahh Indian Creek: the reservoir, the six-shooters, the bridger jacks...and me!

Our friend Max had a shoulder injury and also could not climb. It was nice to have a fellow gimp along.

yay! i just climbed in indian creek!!!

How to climb with only 3 appendages.....

Lacy and BJ and the classic tape glove.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Bet you can't figure out which one is mine and which one is eric's.... :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Return to Camping....

Last weekend Eric and I took a trip down to Bryce Canyon National Park. We are trying to take this opportunity to visit the non-climbing parts of Utah. Bryce Canyon is totally worth it! This was my first camping trip since the surgery. I slept on two thermarests and two pillows, and actually, it wasn't that bad. i've slept much worse, and i've slept better. so pretty par for the camping course really. it felt like i had never stopped camping/roadtripping. it was great to get back out into the sunshine, desert air, blue sky, and camping food. we took the road bikes and biked to the different view points on sunday and hiked around on saturday. i'm not up to hiking even small hills yet, so we stayed on the rim, which still had the best view. Bryce is an amazing spot!

The Rim from Bryce Point

Different part of the rim

Look Ma! No Hands AND a bad hip!

Bristlecone Pine....somewhat dead. okay, a lot dead.

Eric's sunrise shot of the ampitheater. I was still tucked into bed with my mound of pillows, thermarests, and sleeping bags.

a daring traverse...

Have you taken the picture yet?

On the rim trail

Despite what it looks like, i actually did NOT base Bryce Canyon

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Ahh Yeah!

My sister is staring them early!!! This is my 1 year old niece, Esther. Miranda sent me this picture with the title "Eat your heart out Aunt Polly!" i LOVE it!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Shoes and Hurry up and Wait

"Why?" you ask? Why did you ever buy such ugly shoes?! Because they are supposed to be the best thing for professionals who are on their feet all day. and that's what i am. i currently wear Danskos, which are basically the unofficial official health care professional shoe. or at least they are in the University of Utah Hospital. Nearly everyone in the hospital wears Danskos. and i'm a big fan, i've worn them for 4 years and they've done my feet right. oddly enough feet crave hard, stable foundations such as what the dankso offers rather than the soft cushion of a tennis shoe or running shoe. i know b/c i've tried to wear a running shoe at work and my feet hurt so bad at the end of the day i'm begging eric for a foot rub (okay, i beg for a foot rub regardless of what shoe i wear...) recently my heels have been hurting a bit after a 12 hour shift and i've seen acouple people around work wearing these shoes. They are called MBT shoes. I don't know what that stands for, other than it should stand for "missed but trying". They are pretty much the ugliest shoes i could have ever imagined, and now i own a pair! people at work swear by them. they are supposed to rocker you along, all the while increasing calf strength and easing lower back strain. they are also a cool $260. I did't pay that though. they were on sierra trading post and a friend at work had a coupon, so i sprung for them. i'm hoping they will make my 12 hour shift fly by even faster....i'll keep you updated as to whether or not you should buy said ugly shoe.

other news: saw my orthopedic surgeon last week. he was happy with my progress and said i was actually doing just fine if not better than most patients. I had a steroid injection in my hip socket 2 weeks ago to alleviate some of the inflammation. it actually worked really well and my activities of daily life (getting into a car, walking up/down stairs, getting into bed ) got a lot easier. however any sort of physical activity still remains out of my reach. i biked to work 2 days last week (6 miles each way with minimal elevation gain) and my hip had a hard time with it. ican't really describe the feeling b/c it isn't out right pain, but it is sore and it is tired after biking like that. it's like i can't get all the muscles in the hip organized to fire at the same time so when i first start walking after sitting down it's like i'm dragging that right hip behind a little bit. someone at work even noticed and mentioned it to me. that made me sorta depressed b/c i was so excited to start riding my bike again to work, but if i am dragging that hip it means i should probablay stop that activity. so i'm not biking anymore. i still have a lot of pain in the front part of my hip, and i'm worried i have retorn the cartilage in the socket. i don't know how i would have done that and the surgeon said he's only seen it one other time....but i still have some of the signs and symptoms of a torn cartilage. the pain in my hip is way worse now than it was before the surgery, rock climbing it out of the question. my surgeon actually gave me a time frame for that though-9-12 months from the surgery. sigh. big deep sigh. i want to heal though, and i want to get the whole thing healed properly the first time. so i will cease and desist. i am not going to try to rock climb until next march. that's hard to write/say. in fact, it also means i won't be skiing until that time either. i tried a bit of easy yoga the other day and it proved too much for the hip too. it's hard to know what to do these days- some exercises need to be done to strengthen the hip. but if those exercises then make the hip inflammed and difficult to organize, then they are counter-productive. swimming is still my best option, but with the weather turning it's harder to get into a cool-ish pool. plus, now i don't get those great tan lines either..... i am hoping that what i am dealing with is just massive, global hip joint inflammation. i'm hoping and praying for that b/c the other option is the retorn cartilage and that makes me want to cry.

Basically i am in a game of "hurry up and wait". that's what i tell my ER patients all the time. "we've done all we can right now and now you get to hurry up and wait...wait for labs, xrays, radiology, etc". i've got to wait until december when i see my surgeon again and we decide whether my pain is coming from inflammation or cartilage issues. if it's cartilage issues we'll have to do some minor surgery to remove the screws in my femur so we can re-image the cartilage with another MRI. so i am simmering until december. no pushing it. no doing anything that causes my hip to feel tight or painful. in the meantime i've got swimming, the awesome sports massage therapist i've been seeing, and eric to cheer me up. we've got a couple trips planned in october. trips that we've meant to take all along but haven't b/c they didn't invovle climbing. trips like going to see Bryce Canyon National Park. there's no climbing there, so i've never really wnated to go. now is a perfect time to visit. some friends are going to indian creek in late october. that's a hard pill to swallow b/c i think we are going to go, and i'll pack my road bike so i can at least move through the canyon walls, but i won't be climbing them. actually, i'm considering some form of one legged crack climbing, along with some major assistance form the belayer and my rope... i might make it a couple yards. i think it'll be hard to be in indian creek and not be climbing...but then again, it is a magical and spiritual place with or without the climbing. just being in the red utah desert does good things for my heart. i'm also focusing on baking and cooking- so i'm updating my cooking blog often if you want to try some new and delicious recipes.

i've also attended a knitting class the last 3 weeks. i have one more week of class and then i might sign up for a more adavnced class after this one. i suck at knitting. in fact, i've always hated it and not had the patience. tonight i started my first project though and i'm proud of myself for sticking it out. eric's getting a scarf for christmas, of course.

it's been a tough last few weeks. ups and downs for sure. i road my bike home last week and upon arrival at home threw the bike down and burst into tears for a solid half-hour. eric was great and just let me cry. sometimes, you just need to cry.

Monday, September 07, 2009

13 Weeks Post-op

And look what i can do!!!

I wouldn't say I have returned to climbing, b/c this was one of the first and easiest climbs i ever did in the Wasatch. However, it was technically rock climbing. it was mostly very easy, but that right leg/quad doesn't want to cooperate all the time. We climbed 3 routes yesterday, and my hip was pretty sore last night. i recovered well today though and we tried one of our favorite hikes in Big cottonwood Canyon- I didn't quite make it to the lake at the end of the trail,however. The 'ole hip started to get pretty sore about 2 miles into a pretty steady uphill hike. Still, what a tremendous weekend! climbing and hiking... maybe i really will actually get better after all! i also biked to work this week as well. major mile stone.

i am seeing the PA/surgeon this week because of my hip flexor tendonitis issue. it has refused to get much better and i am interested in what they think. i have been a very good patient and have only done exercises that do not affect the hip flexor so i feel that i have adequately 'rested' the hip in all the right places. i'm anxious to get the hip flexor taken care of. it is popping quite loudly at night when i roll over in bed and has started to become mildly painful with the popping. this concerns me a bit more.

i'm having a few more 'down' days this past week. it's starting to get harder to remain positive all the time during this plateau. i've come so far, and yet i feel i have so much farther to go yet. most days i do a great job of looking at the positives and feeling great about how i can move. but some days i am tired of being satisfied with a little bike ride or a swim. i want to climb! and not just top rope some 5.6. when i think about my recovery only taking the prognosed 6 months i feel kinda hopeless. but if i think about my recovery taking 9-12 months i am encouraged with where i am at. i think my surgeon was a little optomistic about my recovery rate. or may be he just didn't understand what 'recovery' means to a rock climber. probably some of both. recovery isn't just riding a bike around or doing a moderate hike. recovery is tucking my hips into the overhanging wall and lunging for a hold just out of my reach... recovery is hiking 10 miles in with a 40 pound backpack and climbing a steep rock face at an altitude of greater than 10,000 feet....recovery is ski touring a 11,000 ft peak and tele skiing the powder all the way down...recovery is squatting in the back yard garden to clean out the dead vegetation from the summer...


recovery is also taking small steps forward and at times, steps backward. recovery is also being grateful for the movement i do have. recovery is swimming. is biking. is moderate hiking. recovery is standing in the kitchen and making dinner. recovery is being able to clean the house. recovery is walking without assistance. recovery is HARD.

i blog this for myself as much as anyone else. i need to remember what i could do at certain times for myself and for a possible future surgery. i need to remember how hard it was and what i learned. i need to remember the patience required to heal. both inside and out. i need to remember.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Not-so-Brief Progress of Time

Yesterday I biked myself to the gym, swam my mile, and biked home. i was so proud. my first bi-sport day!
Today before work Eric and i biked all the way to the hospital, just to be sure i could do it by myself. now, i can return to biking to work and i am so pleased about that.
i'm not using my cane at work anymore either and i have no noticeable limp (except when i get up out of a chair for the first few steps). I've started seeing a massage therapist who i am really excited about. She knew all about my condition ( FAI) and was able to work a bit on my lower back. she described my hip as " you have a lot of scar tissue there that needs to be organized" i love the idea of 'organizing' my hip. it sounds like preparing myself for the freedome of movement that has been my dream for so long now. i also had acupuncture last week, but my hip was so tight that one of the needles actually came out during the session (i guess my hip rejected it or something and actually pushed it back out) all this is a bit costly so i'm deciding to forgo the acupuncture and stick with the massage. i've also started taking an herbal supplement called pycnogenol that is supposed to have strong anti inflammatory properties. i like this idea better then doping up on ibuprofen and aleve all day long and running the risk of ulcers.

the swimming is going great. in fact, i'm considering entering a triathlon as part of a relay team (no way am i running right now!) i'm not that excited about competing itself, but i like the idea of swimming with a goal in mind. there's a half ironman tri in las vegas in october. if the stars align and i have the time off (and so do two other women) we'll go down and have ourselves a blasT!

so the days march on. i am 3 months out from my surgery. i'm still battling the hip flexor tendonitis. it's pretty painful, but only with flexion- my hip is tight so putting my sock and shoe on can be a challenge but i have faithfully done my PT every day since i have been allowed. i think it shows in the fact that i don't have a limp. i have been trying so hard to remain positive about this experience. i learned something new last week. i can only compare myself to the way i was 2 weeks ago. and next week i can compare myself to last week. if i try to compare myself to where i was before the surgery i get down. i am nowhere near my activity level before the surgery. sometimes i get down thinking its' been 3 whole months since i had the surgery and i'm not even thinking about climbing yet. and yet,it's only been 3 whole months and after my surgery that's not very long. so as long as i have made progress since 2 weeks ago i am going forward. i don't know when i'll climb again, but i am completely positive that i will some day.

right now i can't think about having my other hip operated on. i think i have to know that this surgery worked and was effective in the way i want it to be. i am thinking i need to put my new hip through its paces before i commit to tearing the other one open. plus, i think i need soem time to restore the positive energy/vibes so i have an adequate amount to put toward the other hip. so, i'm not sure about the other hip just now.... i wold still like to have an MRI done so i know what's going on in there, but as for surgery, let's slow this train down.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Gluteus Medius

Who knew a gluteus medius could be so painful? Who even knew you had a gluteus medius?!

This muscle is the one muscle that is so weak on me. It's affecting that darn hip flexor and making it work overtime. Yesterday in physical therapy it got worked- hurray! today i'm sore specifically in my gluteus medius and i couldn't be happier b/c it means it was well targeted and well-worked.

Yesterday I swam one mile. then i went to PT. I was so proud.

Sunday Eric and I went for our first real road bike ride. clipped in and everything. even wearing the outfit. I'M RIDING A BIKE! I am Operation + 10 weeks as of yesterday. Sure, the bike ride was mostly flat. Sure i was only out 30 minutes, but i felt the wind and sunshine on my face and i was joyful inside.

I'm using the cane less and less. in fact, i don't use it at all around the house. my limp is much less pronounced and i don't have to think so hard to walk correctly. my glut med is still very weak, and my hip flexor is still very angry. i'm still limited in my range of motion severely, but my physical therapist showed me my range of motion numbers yesterday and i was improved substantially in all areas. far from normal yet however, making progress. i'm taking anti-inflammatories around the clock to see if that helps the flexor at all.

i asked him (the PT) about the hip flexor. he said it was still too early to tell- i am only 10 weeks out. i think i now understand why parents always give the age of their child in weeks- you are counting baby! i am counting the weeks post-op and i suddenly feel like a parent. 10 weeks is such a long time and yet such a short time at the same time. 10 weeks of my life pre-operation would feel like a long time. 10 weeks post-operation feels like no time at all. i think i was hoping to see significant improvement in activity level at 3 months. and really i have made significant improvement since i came home on cruches. but secretly, deep down inside, i thought i might have put a climbing harness on and tied in at 3 months. i'm thinking more like 4-6 now. so it goes. slowly, slowly. and, by the way, i have put on the climbing harness- and then sat down on the couch and enjoyed the feeling.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Bike Stroll

Eric and I will often go for walks around the neighborhood after dinner- especially as the evenings cool off and the summer light lingers. I am not up to walking very far yet, but I thought i could manage a stroll around the block on my bike. It was nice to get out around the neighborhood and talk and laugh with Eric.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nelson's Wedding

My brother Nelson got married to Krissy in Oceanside, California a couple weeks ago. It was a beautiful wedding next to the ocean, and I'm very excited to have Krissy be a part of the family. It was also great to see some of my extended family there as we are all spread out over the greater united states.

while driving through california eric saw a sign for 20 avocados for $5!!! unfortunately, the day we were leaving the avocado stand was not there, so we didn't get to bring any back with us.

on the recovery side of things: I'm still using a cane but walking with only a minor limp now. i started physical therapy (Yay!) and am getting stronger by the day. I also started lap swimming and riding a stationary bike- both activities feel so liberating and good for me. i'm doing extremely modified yoga for myself- just trying to stretch the ole body back out. i still can't touch my toes on the right side and have considerable pain attempting a straight leg raise. My physical therapist believes that i have now given myself an over-use injury in my right hip flexor. b/c all the other muscles in my hip are so weakened from the surgery, the hip flexor has been doing overtime to help me move. now it's pissed. so i have some inflammation there along with quite a bit of pain. its' frustrating though b/c what hip muscle strengthing exercises don't involve the hip flexor? so how to strengthen the hip without affecting the hip flexor?? i'm realizing patience will be my biggest step toward total healing.

here are some of eric's photos of the weekend in california:

Baby Esther- she never did smile for the camera....

trying to capture the moment with a wave in the background.

Eric and I- our 4th year anniversary!

Nelson and Krissy

The Family

My nephew Elliot


Mom and I after the rehearsal

Eric and baby Esther

My sister Miranda and brother in law Darin with a squirmy baby!

My dashing nephew Adrian

This one is my favorite!


My Uncle Larry helping Mom out with the moves

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Penguin Game!

Any time I have needed just a little stimulation for a brief(or long!) period of boredom, the penguin game has come to my rescue. I was never allowed to play nintendo growing up, and i thought that now, at the ripe age of 26, it would be a good time to learn. we've had trouble trying to round up a genuine old super mario nintendo game and system however. i tried nintendo 64 and couldn't figure out which way was forward or how to use the wand/paddle thingie and my hope was dwindling for learning the nintendo art. eric saved the day with introducing the penguin game to me. it's exactly like mario brothers except it was reverse programmed with linux (however you spell it) and a penguin is the star, not a little man named mario. except for that everything, absolutely everything is exactly the same. eric got it offline somewhere so i play iton the lap top with the arrow keys and have passed eric in the number of levels i have dominated (i'm pretty proud of that) my mom was afraid i was getting addicted, but i'm pretty sure i'll be fine without little penguin guy when i can actually walk.

one more level before bedtime please!!

sweet! i'm about to get flower power! (remember, the power to shoot the little bad guys?)

i had my first day back at work last saturday. it was long, but mostly pain free and i was very excited and pleased at how well it actually went. i'm working in our 23 hour short stay unit until september when i will hopefully be running around sufficiently to work in the main ER. still on 2 crutches awaiting july 22 when i have my post-op xray to show my bone completely healed. then i'll start physical therapy. yeah!!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Signs of Recovery

This is Eric again, and I wanted to put up a quick post to say the Polly is recovering well and has been up and about and also able to sit for longer spans of time (going out for dinner, games of Settlers of Catan, etc). Thanks for the continued support!

Settlers of Catan-1
Settlers of Catan-2

You know Polly's feeling better when she's in the kitchen!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Being Post Op in Salt Lake

I'm improving. the nights are still very long and i can't sleep through them because of positioning and comfort. I've gotten out a bit more though- my mom and i went up to the mountains last week and she pushed me around the one mile long wheel chair accessible hike around a lake. it was so incredibly nice to breathe the fresh mountain air and see the snow covered mountains again. that same day i also made my first foray back into grocery shopping... on the electric grocery shopping cart! that was the highlight of my recovery thus far. i got some strange looks in the grocery store though.

we've had a few friends over here and there and have been playing many games of Settlers of Catan. It passes the evenings quite quickly, my mom is quickly becoming a pro. ha. we've also introduced my mom to facebook, at which she is not quickly becoming a pro. ha.

i hosted our sporatic and random clothing exchange last week as well. a bunch of friends and i clean out our closets and pool the clothes so we can all pick and choose over which of each other's clothes we like. it's a great, free way to get 'new' clothes.

my sister also visited with her 3 toddlers. that made the week go by even more quickly- a visit to the park (pictured), the pool for a swim lesson, the zoo (in a wheelchair) all made the days fly by.

the last pic was taken of me in the hospital. i only stayed 2 nights. i kinda missed that hospital bed- it was so comfortable and convenient! (i think only someone truly sick or injured could say that....)

so really, the past 3 weeks have gone by relatively quickly. there are hours that last days and days that last years, but somehow the time is passing by much faster than i anticipated. eric gets to come home for lunches most days so it's a nice break in the day. and my mom and i have tried to do something each afternoon which helps the day along as well. i got myself into bed for the first time yesterday...yay!

we're planning on another mountain adventure this week, to get into cooler temps and fresh air.

My wonderful mother who came out all the way from arkansas to take care of me

The clothing exchange. My friends and I clean out our closets and bring the goods together to pick and choose to suppliment our own closets.

There have been many games so Settlers of Catan. I have lost many of them (thus the sad face)